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Taiwan elections: mainland China accuses Democratic Progressive Party of ‘hyping’ up military threat to win votes

  • The island will elect its next president in January, with William Lai, the independence-leaning party’s candidate, currently ahead in the polls

  • PLA spokesman Wu Qian said accusations was interfering in the election were an attempt to ‘gain votes through lies’

By Liu Zhen

December 28, 2023

Beijing has accused William Lai’s DPP of hyping up the threat from the mainland. Photo: EPA-EFE

Beijing has accused Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party of “hyping up” the People’s Liberation Army’s activities ahead of next month’s elections to win votes.

Taiwan is set to hold presidential and legislative elections in less than three weeks. Vice-President William Lai Ching-te, the independence-leaning DPP’s presidential candidate, is currently leading in the polls.

“The Democratic Progressive Party has purposely hyped up the so-called ‘military threats by the mainland military’ to exaggerate tensions,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a PLA spokesman, told a press briefing in Beijing. “They do that so they can make gains in the elections.”

In response to questions about Taiwan keeping tabs on the PLA, Wu said: “As for the Taiwan military’s capabilities, the PLA is in absolute full control. As always, we will adopt all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In recent weeks, Taiwan has accused Beijing of interfering in the elections by flying spy balloons across the Taiwan Strait’s median line and sending PLA warplanes into its air defence identification zone.

Wu dismissed the accusations as election rhetoric by the DPP and denied that the median line exists, saying Taiwan was part of China.

“The DPP authorities’ hyping up the so-called ‘mainland interference in the election’ is nothing more than their usual election tactics, which are aimed at provoking confrontation and gaining votes with lies. The same old trick has been recognised by more and more Taiwanese people,” he said.

Last week, Beijing announced a suspension of tariff cuts on 12 petrochemical products from Taiwan and accused the island of putting up“barriers” on mainland imports against the spirit of a key cross-strait trade pact, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.

The Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing also blamed it on the DPP’s stance on independence and warned that more trade penalties could be on the way.

Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. Most countries do not officially recognise Taiwan as an independent state, but many, including the United States, oppose a forcible change in the status quo.



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